tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC July 30, 2014 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT
response should be what the criticism is warranted, not whether or not the person criticizing you is within punching distance. not only is this not presidential temperament, this is not senator -- this is not even play ground temperament in most well-run elementary schools. nobody expects you to be perfect. but nobody expects you to be a petulant person who lies and is threatening imagined adversaries about it. it's not a good look in any one of the congressional districts in iowa, let alone all four of them. if presidential campaigns are like mris, so far the test results really do not look good. now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." good evening.
partiers. >> hoping this will satisfy them. >> they will never, ever be satisfied. >> today, the question before the house of representatives was, should the house sue the president of the united states for changing one of the deadlines in the affordable care act by executive action. five republicans voted no because they said suing the president was not enough. the house should be impeaching the president. all democrats voted no, and so by a vote of 225-201, the house passed a resolution to authorize a lawsuit against president obama. the first ever legal challenge of its kind by either the house or the senate against a president.
civil rights icon congressman john lewis has seen many darker days in his life, but today was clearly one of his worst as a member of congress. >> from his first day in office, the republicans in the house, in this house, have never supported this president. every olive branch he extended was broken. but today, mr. speaker, we have reached a low, a very low point. this resolution to sue the president just goes a little too far. it is a shame and a disgrace. the american people deserve better. we can do better. we can do much better! >> but the democrats don't believe they can do much better in a house controlled by republicans like this. >> we have chosen to bring this legislation for today to sue the president over his selective implementation of the affordable
care act. >> our constitution does not say that the president gets to write his own laws. our founders knew that was a bad idea. >> hour freedom is in peril, my friends. we cannot stand by and watch the president shred our constitution. >> are you willing to let any president choose what laws to execute and what laws to change? are you willing to let anyone tear apart what our founders have built? >> president obama did not seem worried today. >> this is a political stunt, but it's worse than that, because every vote they're taking like that means a vote they're not taking to actually help people. and by the way, you know who's paying for this suit they're going to do? you. >> joining me now is former chief minority county to the house judiciary committee.
mia, the president ended on that point about who is paying for this. and congresswoman louise slaughter got the republicans on record voting against a number of issues involving the payment of this, that they could be uncomfortable for them down the road. but it looked like the republicans in the house of representatives could not be stopped on this one today. >> that's right. you saw the president there. he was almost basking in this. it was certainly something that the white house had predicted a while ago, that this lawsuit would come forward and obviously pass the house. and then they're also talking about impeachment now that the law suit is a slippery slope. what the white house sees out of this so far is they've been able to raise millions and millions of dollars off of this and they feel like this is something that is going to really rally their base.
john boehner thought it would do the same for him, but in terms of -- and i talked to a couple of republican strategists about this, and they feel like john boehner is riding a tiger with this issue, and that it is really awakening a sleeping giant among democratic voters. >> let's listen to what louise slaughter said on the house floor today. >> this lawsuit goes against everything that the majority has been working for, for the last four years. they have tried over 50 times, spending $79 million to repeal the affordable care act. anyone frankly listening to this is not going to now believe there's this great change of heart and they're so broken up that it wasn't implemented in time and by the book that you're going to try to sue the president of the united states. i don't think even kids watching sesame street that would make
any sense. >> julian, louise slaughter in the rules committee offered some amendments that every republican voted against. and they were really some things that republicans are going to have trouble justifying, including an amendment saying that general counsel -- that they must disclose how much has been spent on the lawsuit every week. every republican voted against that. she also had them vote on an amendment requiring that -- prohibiting the hiring of any law firm or consultants who lobby congress on any subject or who lobby the executive branch on the affordable care act implementation or have financial interest in the implementation of the affordable care act. she got republicans to vote against that in the rules committee. and they still kept going down this road where they keep offering democrats these political opportunities to make these points. >> she does.
and i think mia's point, this is ultimately going to be very bad politics for the republicans, just no question about that. she makes the ironic point on the floor that the suit, the purpose of the suit ironically is to force the obama administration to implement obamacare more quickly than it might otherwise do that. so it's incredibly ironic, and there are lots of political opportunities for the democrats as there were in 1998 when we were going through the impeachment episode. this may lead to impeachment, but this suit will be dead on arrival. we talked about it before on this show. the house does not have standing to bring this suit, because it hasn't been injured. >> julian, just explain -- let's just explain standing for a moment. what would be an example of someone who would have standing to bring this lawsuit. >> so if an individual was working for a large company or over 50 or 100 employees and that company did offer health
insurance and now there was a year or two delay depending on the size of the company in terms of when they could take advantage, they might have standing to bring the suit. >> the standing is that they are an injured party by this action. >> that is a constitutional requirement. virtually all of the legal scholars in this area, conservative, liberal, otherwise, say that the house will not have standing and this will not make it to court. so i don't think there's a chance this makes it to court. if it did, the court would say this is a political question and congress has other means to deal with it. the other point is what the president did here by delaying the implementation is not illegal. we've seen presidents delay the implementation of statutes for legitimate purposes. bush did it with medicare. clinton did it in 1997 with medicare reforms in the 1997 budget act. we saw bush do it in 2007 with
small business tax reform. this has been done -- administration after administration has done this in the area of environmental protection rules. it's settled law that the administration has some discretion in terms of implementing regulations that are required by statute, even if it means temporary delays. the only time the courts step in is in the case of say george bush, when george bush was delaying the implementation of clean air statutes, for year after year because he opposed them. somebody with standing took it to court and they won in the supreme court on that. that's a very different case from here. the president deferring the implementation as obama is doing here. that is settled law. there is no serious law professor, legal scholar in this country that will tell you otherwise. it is a settled legal question. >> mia, voters don't normally send people to congress to sue
other branches of government, and the challenge for republicans here in explaining this to their constituents and to others is that they are suing the president for doing something that they would have wanted him to do. >> right. it's a complicated argument that they have to make to their constituents, some of them who want him to further and want him to be impeached. but then you have to think about the middle of the road voters. the independents who don't really want this to happen at all. the latest polls out of cnn show that the majority of voters don't want the lawsuit and don't want impeachment. so again, i think the politics of this are just very, very difficult for republicans who in many ways had the wind at their back weeks ago. looking at the map and looking at history and how midterms usually play out for sitting presidents after six years in
office, but with this, i think they've given a lot of momentum to democrats and now they're going to have a real national strategy against republicans when they didn't have that before. >> julian, how does a democrat running in this election season make something out of this lawsuit? >> well, i think it is -- it is exactly what the president said today, that the republicans are wasting taxpayer time and money on absolutely frivolous lawsuits that have no merit, while the president is attempting to do the public's business. if you noticed today, we had a report that gdp growth was 4% in the last quarter, which is extraordinary. i think the president takes the high ground. he says he's doing his job. he's attempting to get the economy going. he's attempting to do all the other things he's been talking about on global warming and other issues and the republicans continue down this road of a totally futile lawsuit, and this
is the substitute for their policy. they continue to be brain dead when it comes to articulating any serious economic or social policy for this country. this is good for the democrats. >> thank you both for joining me tonight. >> thank you. >> thanks, lawrence. coming up, the bipartisan duo of booker and paul, rand paul sat down for an interview today on sentencing reform with ari. ari is going to join me on that. and in the rewrite, the first lady talks about the importance of educating girls around the world in a way that no other first lady ever could. and later, ted cruz is at it again in the house of representatives. staples for back to school.
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new jersey's democratic senator cory booker and kentucky's republican senator rand paul are twitter friends. this week, rand paul tweeted, congrats to my friend cory booker for being number 44 out of 50 on the hill's most beautiful list. cory booker replied, i hate to tell you this, rand, but i think we were late pity ads to this list of the young and gorgeous. yes, rand paul's on the list, too. cory booker was number 44, and rand paul was number 9. rand paul, number 9 on a beautiful list. number 1 is danielle sykes who works in constituent services for republican bob gibbs from ohio. she had a member of the red rockers, the dance squad for the washington capitals hockey team.
you just heard everything i've ever known about the washington capitals hockey team, including its very existence. ari will join me next to talk about his interview with rand paul and cory booker. we (cha-ching!) (cha-ching!) many empt(cha-ching!) it felt like we were flushing money away. mom! that's why we switched to charmin ultra mega roll. it's charmin quality and long lasting. with more go's per roll, it pays to use charmin ultra mega roll. charmin ultra mega roll is 75% more absorbent so you can use less with every go. plus it even lasts longer than the leading thousand sheet brand. for us, mega roll equals mega value. cha-ching! we all go. why not enjoy the go
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>> the problem with the war on drugs is taking a lot of people making a few mistakes and punishing them for a lifetime. i think if we can get them back into voting and working, they're much less like lit of getting in trouble. >> america has a broken criminal justice system. we're destroying lives. we're making communities less safe. >> i think as cory has mentioned, this is a conservative notion in the sense that also we're spending an enormous amount of money on prisons. >> people don't realize this practice of solitary confinement has incredibly negative effects on the development of young people. this is a practice we don't need to keep young people safe or society safe. if we're interested in empowering people to succeed after prison, we would get rid of this practice. >> somebody sold pot and we're going to put them in solitary confinement?
it's ridiculous. i think our attitudes towards this are changing. i don't think any of these drugs are a good idea. i just think the punishment we've chosen is very wrong. >> i don't care about the politics. this is an issue of justice. i'm finding allies across the board. >> when senator booker first came here, i thought he would be open to discussion and i think he's proven to be that. >> it's been a pleasure to work with rand paul but we've got to get this over the finish line. >> we used to see this sort of thing a fair amount. but what we didn't see, even in the good ole days is somebody like rand paul really out there on the right edge of his party, joining with somebody on the left side of the democratic party, over an issue like this. this is new stuff. >> it is new. and senator paul's positions here are pretty clear. it's restoring voting rights to former felons.
it's doing record expungement, which is a huge issue for folks who get out of jail, paid their time and just want a job. he's also looking at the crack and cocaine disparity, which is huge racial implications. and he said something off camera off this, where i said did you have to give anything up to get this bill? he said not really, because whatever motivates him and cory booker, he said we're both strong on this issue from different perspectives but we want to clean this up. and banning solitary confinement is something they want to do. >> this is one of those positions where liberal and libertarian overlap just right. it's fascinating to see rand paul doing this, and doing it by the way more eloquently than most democrats who stay away from this subject. they don't want to be associated with it. i want to go to the part we're not showing but rachel was talking about it in the final block of her show where he got nervous, rand paul did, when you
talked to him about the civil rights act and he did these interviews, including rachel's, which he clearly said things that are very different from the way he talks about it now. he's trying to deny that he ever said some of these things, and he may eventually be able to brush that away. he's -- what you pointed out is he has clearly evolved. he just doesn't say he has evolved. but what do you think that evolution is about? >> well, what he says is he would probably support the whole bill, but he didn't like or had reservations about the rules on private businesses. >> and you tried to get him on those particular titles of the act but he filibustered past it. >> i thought it would be fair, and we gave him ample time to respond. we're seeing a desire by him to skirt the substantive policy
discussion about whatever reservations may exist in some of the commerce power that the government used and back off the entire thing and just say look, i support the civil rights act. that's something he said before. >> rachel's point is interesting. he can't say anything like i was wrong and i'm moving on. he's not the only politician we've seen in that kind of box. hillary clinton was in that kind of box in the last presidential election. he probably wanted any problems with that particular subject in the civil rights act, but do you think that kind of thing is going to dog him throughout a presidential campaign? >> i think it is difficult when you look at the number of questions in our politics that relate to federal versus state control. it's an issue on obamacare in the medicaid expansion and an issue on some of these discussions around corporate personhood and where do you want
to locate that power and do you want to have national or local rules? he's led on the idea that we should let states decriminalize pot. but again, that brings you back to these questions of federalism. there are some issues, lawrence, that are bigger than state's rights. we settled that controversy in this country around race and civil rights. there are other areas where liberals are saying state rights are great for marijuana. so i don't think it's easy for any politician to walk away from a nuanced question. >> it seems to me that most voters don't care about your past position but they care about your position now. that's why must bes -- why republicans declared mitt romney as a conservative. >> we talked about the racial element on the war on drugs. on the politics, he's made a bet
here that this is in my rear view and every time it comes up, i'm going to be clear, i support this thing, let's move forward. >> fascinating to watch. thank you, ari. coming up, a last word exclusive. the third video in two weeks of violent arrests by nypd officers. the man in this video who was arrested will join me next. try phillips fiber good gummies. they're delicious and an excellent source of fiber to help support regularity. mmmm. these are good! the tasty side of fiber. from phillips caman: thanks, captain obvious. wouldn't stay here tonight. captain obvious: i'd get a deal for tonight with deals for tonight from hotels.com. and you might want to get that pipe fixed.
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in the spotlight tonight, nypd brutality. a police officer caught on video in brooklyn and accused of stomping a subdued suspect is on desk duty tonight. it was the third video in two weeks showing alleged brutality by a new york city police officer. the incident started when approaching officers accused jahmi-el cuffee of rolling what appeared to be a marijuana cigarette. a witness caught what happened next on his cell phone. >> i'm not doing anything. i don't understand what this is about. he has no weapons. there was no probable cause. there was no phone call. y'all came over here. i work right there. and i'm not scare of you. y'all just started wailing on
him. this is a look community, brother. remember me? yo, what are you doing? i got you on camera. i have you on camera. >> help me! help me! >> y'all just started jumping him when he was sitting in the chair. what are you doing? they're dead wrong. i already got that right here. you just pulled a gun on that
man for no reason. >> you can't do that! >> did you see that? >> the man who you just saw stomp jahmi-el cuffee is charged and the incident is under review by the internal reviews board. jahmi-el is here with us tonight to tell his story for the first time on television along with his sister and lawyer steven drummond. you didn't want to watch what was just happening to your brother. i noticed when the video was rolling, you just looked down at the desk. have you seen this video before? >> yes, i have.
>> but just now you just don't want to see it again? >> yes. it's too painful to watch. >> how did you feel when you saw it for the first time? >> i was outraged. i was hurt, you know, i just don't understand why the officer was so angry and felt the need to stomp and point a gun in an unarmed man's face. >> jahmi-el, you've seen this video before now i assume. when you're going through something like that, i know you can't possibly know what's happening to you the whole time. does this video help you understand the totality of what happened to you there? >> first and foremost, i would like to thank you, mr. o'donnell, and the nbc studios for having us. and that ordeal is just something i can never go through again. >> did you have a head injury from this? were you take on the a doctor
afterwards? >> yes, i was taken to the ems. >> what injuries did they find on you as a result of this? >> they just x-rayed my elbow and my knee. >> now, they were approaching you because they believed they saw you with marijuana. did you have marijuana? >> no. >> and they say that you resisted arrest. did you resist the arrest? >> i have no comment. my attorney has to take care of that. >> steven, what's your view of the resisting arrest charge here? >> well, if you look carefully, there's a distinction between seeing and observing. i've gone over this a number of times. these officers, as it appears to us, they weren't trying to make an arrest. it seems they were trying to initiate a struggle. if you look at 12 seconds into the tape, the officer who did the stomping and pointed a gun, he has his left hand, i believe, rested on the vehicle. his right hand is rested on his
partner's back. he's not paying attention to mr. cuffee at all. >> it's a very strange physical maneuver to watch. i think we have a freeze frame of the officer taking out his gun. i think we can get it up on the screen. we will at some point get the freeze frame of the gun. in that video, the gun is drawn. we paused this this afternoon. there was nothing in this event that -- anywhere around this event that suggested any need for the use of a gun. did you have a gun on you? >> not at all. >> did they ask you if you had a weapon? >> not at all. >> the issue of whether you had marijuana, didn't have marijuana, resisted arrest or did not resist arrest has nothing to do with the moment we see where the officer comes walking back and stops on your head.
that is a very clearly unprovoked moment and it's fascinating that the video decided to follow him. that turns out to be a good choice to follow this very strange behavior. if you can remember, when he was walking away like that, what situation were you in with the officers who remained behind, were you being -- were you being better treated at that point or was there some relief in him walking away? >> i was already on the floor. >> you wouldn't really tell that anything had changed when he walked away. >> not at all. >> what was the sensation when he did stomp you on the head like that? >> just pain and a loss of memory at the point in time. and that was it after that. it was like i blacked out. >> did any of the other officers say anything to you about that? >> i would like to thank two
officers that you see in the video for their courageous help and it seems like they -- if they wouldn't have done that, that officer probably would have continued to do more harm to me. >> so those two officers stopped what was going on. >> it was two officers there. >> lawrence, let me interject there. the first time where the officer is using what appears to be a stick or a baton hitting him. and one officer at that point pushed him away. as i said earlier, there's a distinction between seeing and observing. if you observe, you'll see that taking place. right when the kick came, there's another officer who pushes him away. those two officers, we want to express our gratitude to them. this is a family, his father is a retired police officer. >> so you grew up with a badge in the house? >> yes. >> but there are other officers there.
it looks like detectives to me, who are doing nothing, nothing while this is happening to you, and who are standing idly by as the law would phrase it, while you're getting kicked in the head. >> yes. >> it's like accepted behavior. >> it seemed like nothing out of the ordinary to them. >> yes. >> steven, what is the legal future for this case? >> there's a criminal case pending. i'm fairly confident that the district attorney in brooklyn will review this matter and ultimately those charge also go away. given his passion, and what i've seen from him, not just as a district attorney, but before he became a district attorney, i'm confident that he wants a different approach as to how these officers police the community. ultimately, of course there will be a civil suit down the road, but it's very early to talk about that. the most important thing we would like to get done is for him to get treatment. there was a cat scan performed and he went to the hospital. what happened was, he was transported by these very same officers to the precinct and he
ultimately had to beg them to take him to the hospital. he went to the hospital. a cat scan was performed. the stomping on the head was terrible enough, but the most compelling part is the imminent fear he felt when the gun was pointed to his head and chest. >> did you know a gun was being pointed? >> yes, i seen the gun. >> just stunned by what you've suffered in this situation. there's nothing that i saw on that video that provoked that in any way. thank you very much for joining me tonight. >> thanks for having us. coming up, first lady michelle obama's vision for the future of girls around the world. that's coming up. hey. i'm ted and this is rudy.
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almost half of them are in africa. i've told you about the situation in malawi where only 7% of girls complete high school, which is half the rate of boys' high school graduation there. public high school there is not free. most families can't afford the tuition fees for any of their children. but with luck they might be able to squeeze together the money for one of their children to go to high school. and that child is far more likely to be a boy than a girl that. 's why we started a scholarship fund for girls as part of the kind fund, that provides desk for african schools and now scholarships for girls to go to high school. this week, 500 remarkable young people who made it all the way through those high schools are in washington at the mandela young african leader's summit. they've had the thrill of hearing from two of their heroes.
on monday, president obama and today michelle obama. some of michelle obama's predecessors could have spoken to a group of young african leaders. some of them could have said important things, memorable things. but no other first lady in american history could have shared the kind of personal memories and insights that michelle obama did today, with the mandela young african leaders. this was a day when all americans could take pride in the fact that a woman like michelle obama has the unique position that she does in this country and she used that position to inspire people who we have every right to hope are well on their way to making this world a better place. now, i'm going to get out of the way and let michelle obama do the rest of the talking. >> i could give a perfectly fine speech today about increasing investments in girl's education
around the world. but i said i wanted to be honest. and if i do that, we all know that the problem here isn't only about resources. it's also about attitudes and beliefs. it's about whether fathers and mothers think their daughters are as worthy of an education as their sons. as an african-american woman, this conversation is deeply personal to me. the roots of my family tree are in africa. as you know, my husband's father was born and raised in kenya. [ applause ] and members of our extended family still live there. i have had the pleasure of traveling to africa a number of times over the years, including four trips as first lady, and i brought my mother and daughters along with me whenever i can.
so believe me, the blood of africa runs through my veins and i care deeply about africa's future. [ applause ] now, the status of women in africa is also personal to me as a woman. see, what i want you all to understand is that i am who i am today because of the people in my family. particularly the men in my family who valued me and invested in me from the day i was born. i had a father, a brother, uncles, grandfathers who encouraged me and challenged me, protected me, and told me that i was smart and strong and beautiful. [ applause ] and as i grew up, the men who raised me set a high bar for the
type of men i would allow into my life. [ cheers ] which is why i went on to marry a man who had the good sense to fall in love with a woman who was his equal. and to treat me as such, a man who supports and reveres me and who supports and reveres our daughters, as well. [ applause ] leadership is about creating new traditions that honor the dignity and humanity of every individual. leadership is about empowering all of our people, men, women, boys and girls, to fulfill every last bit of their god-given potential. and when we commit to that kind of leadership across the globe,
that is when we truly start making progress on girl's education. because that's when families and small villages around the world will demand equal opportunities for their daughters. they won't wait. that's when countries will willingly and generously invest in sending their girls to school because they'll know how important it is. we all know the ripple effects we can have when we give our girls the chance to learn. we all know that girls who are educated earn higher wages. they're more likely to stand up to discrimination and abuse. they have healthier children who are more likely to attend school themselves. my ancestors came here in chains. my parents and grand parents knew the sting of segregation and discrimination. yet i attended some of the best universities in this country. i had career opportunities
beyond my wildest dreams. and today, i live in the white house, a building -- [ cheers and applause ] but we must remember we live in a home that was constructed by slaves. today i watch my daughters, two beautiful african-american girls walking our dogs in the shadow of the oval office. and today i have the privilege of serving and representing the united states of america across the globe. so my story and the story of my country is the story of the impossible getting done. and i know that can be your
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if you fool me, you can't get fooled again. >> we did have a script here that would have justified the use of that video, but i won't to get to robert costa really fast, reporter for "the washington post." robert, ted cruz is at it again. he is apparently trying to get house republicans to vote against john boehner's emergency funding bill for the crisis on what is, by the way, the texas border. what's the latest on this? >> ted cruz met tonight at his senate office with a group of more than a dozen house conservatives. he's whipping against the house republican leaders and this is putting a lot of pressure on speaker boehner. >> and so how many votes will ted cruz need to tip this thing over? >> he probably needs about 15 to 16 votes. and that's about how many people
were at that meeting tonight. boehner is trying to adjust his floor plan. phone calls were going out to house conservatives. he may add another vote to sweeten the deal to hit obama on the border policy. this is another example of cruz working against boehner and putting him in a tough spot. >> apparently the democrats are all working against this bill. there used to be a method where democrats would vote for this bill knowing it's not enough but hoping in a compromise with the senate it would be increased into something closer to the senate package. but they're just against it, too. so boehner has to get all these votes on the house side. >> you read it so well. boehner is trying to go to the conservatives at the 11th hour. steny hoyer said they have not come to him, so boehner has a narrow window. that's going to be -- he's going to have a morning meeting on friday trying to whip up some support.
>> there's really no precedent for this that i can think of, and we talked about it before when ted cruz was doing this in the house before. there's also no tried and tested technique by house leadership to prevent this. does boehner have a brighter idea this time than he did the last time ted cruz started meddling over there? >> when i speak to aides, they have the same refrain. this is an unusual situation. >> and so they don't really have a play against this, they just know -- they try to keep track of how many people went over to ted cruz's office tonight, things like that? >> they're keeping tabs and all, but there is a debate within the gop leadership. some people think boehner should push a little harder against cruz for meddling in house affairs. but the other argument is that cruz has such a grip on the grassroots that if you go at him, you better be prepared to
risk the outrage from those conservative groups. >> robert costa gets tonight's last word. thanks, robert. >> thank you. .let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with this evening's house vote to sue the president of the united states. is this impeachment light as some are calling it, a way to brand the president as bad, without the trouble and noise of putting him on trial? or is this the first bitter assault on the man in the white house? a tar and feathering to precede the worst? is this the beating that precedes the execution. excuse me, is there any other way to see this speck tickle than by condemnation of the congress minus the due process mp